Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Fragmentation

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Yep, sentence fragments. Back to the technical side of editing. This time it's to talk we're going to focus on a very specific aspect and one I always remember with the warning of know the rule before you break the rule.

What is a fragment sentence?
- Simply put, it's an incomplete sentence. Most noticeable factor that makes it such is that the sentence will be missing something important - the main clause. Every sentence in general is recommended to have a main clause, which is noted as a subject and a verb.

While it's recommended to finish your sentences, there are also times when a fragment sentence not only works but is necessary. Some of the examples on sites about sentence fragmentation are ones that need to be fixed due to punctuation errors, there are other times where it will be fine to keep a sentence or two that may lack a part of the main clause.

Dialogue - There are times when people don't complete their sentences or talk in fragments as speech doesn't always follow the rules dictated by grammar. There are times when a character will say something, be interrupted or imply the subject while focusing on the verb. It's okay to have the occasional fragment in dialogue if it fits the moment.

Command - Sometimes a command will be said or something similar to a command will be expressed within a story. This is the implied subject type of fragment sentence that can also be found at times in dialogue. This might be something liked: Run! Whoever is being told to do the action is the subject within the sentence but it's not outright stated. Instead, the focus is on the action/command and it can work as a single word sentence. However, other single word sentences don't. Work. (See, typo formed a single word sentence and while work could be one on its own, in this case, it's not a correct use of fragmentation.

Some handy links on fragments:

Do you use sentence fragments? Find any in editing that need fixed?